Kale has taken the world by storm as of late and there are a wide variety of reasons why. One of my favorite things about it is it can be incorporated into almost any meal, while also being great for snacking. I have always been a fan of dark leafy greens and kale is always at the top of my list.
It is a leader amongst the dark leafy greens as it is one of the most densely nutritious plants that is widely available to the public. It is home to a wide variety of nutrients, vitamins and other beneficial compounds making it a must have in any diet. If the question remains Is Kale Good For You? Answer is Yes!!!
What is Kale
If you know me you know I love cruciferous vegetables. These are a very diverse group of vegetables including plans like bok choy, maca, kohlrabi and broccoli. With the main benefit I enjoy from the majority of the group being phytonutrients, which are plant based compounds that reduce inflammation, aid human health and help fight off diseases.
Kale happens to be a member of the cabbage family and comes in a wide variety of variations. The most popular that will be found in grocery stores are green Scots’ kale, purple kale and if your are lucky the flowering variations as well. In most cases the leaves have a slight curl and are firm with a long and solid fibrous stem.
Kale can be eaten alone much like a spinach, added to a salad similar to a lettuce, put in juices, roasted, charred, sauteed, made into delicious chips etc. You could eat kale for a week straight and never have to enjoy it in the same form, this is one of my favorite things about the super green.
Nutrient-Density For the Win
As with any food nutrients are always key. Kale contains an exceptionally low amount of calories and very little fat content. Thankfully, the majority of its fat content is alpha linoleic-acid which is an omega -3 fatty acid or good fat for the body.
It being low in fat is what makes it one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens available and why it should be a staple in your diet.
About 2 cups of raw kale and other leafy greens make up about a serving of vegetables for the day. The nutrition info for 2 cups of raw kale is as follows. (If you weigh your food around 130 grams)
- Vitamin K 1094 mcg (1368 % Daily Value)
- Vitamin A 20604 IU (412% Daily Value)
- Vitamin C 269.8 MG (268% Daily Value)
- Manganese (52% Daily Value)
- Copper (20% Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6 (20% Daily Value)
- Calcium (20% Daily Value)
- Potassium 658 mg (18% Daily Value)
- Magnesium (14% Daily Value)
- Protein 5.0 grams
- Fat 1.2 Grams (242 mg Omega 3 Fatty Acids) (184.8 mg Omega 6 Fatty Acids)
- Dietary Fiber 2.4 grams (10% Daily Value)
Over 10% Daily Value of Thiamine, RiboFlavin, Folate and Iron. Over 6% Daily Value of Niacin, Phosphorus.
This information essentially means you can boost your diet significantly very simply. Add a couple of servings of kale to your diet daily (quite possibly a few times of week if you are in a secret conflict with vegetables). All this nutritional value will give your body new life
Assistance with your vital functions
With Kale being such an excellent source of Vitamin C it can play an important role in impacting your life, in a positive fashion.
Vitamin C is responsible for the growth, maintenance, repair and development of all body tissues. This also includes, skin, bones, teeth, organs, ligaments etc. The daily value has always been deemed as too low for many of the benefits of Vitamin C to take place. Luckily, 1 serving of kale over 250% of the daily value.
Vitamin C is one of the most effective nutrients while also being incredibly safe. It is water soluble, and serves as an important antioxidant assisting in so many vital functions in the cells of the body. One of its most important roles in synthesizing collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant and necessary protein of the body essentially holding the body together from the inside out. If you have consistent aches and pains in your joints, it is highly likely a deterioration of collagen is the culprit. With collagen being found in the skin, tendons, muscles. Bones and teeth, it should be clear how widespread the protein is.
Kale is one of the worlds best sources of vitamin C, with 1 serving containing more than 2 oranges. Keep that in mind along with the effects Vitamin C has on your body.
Fighting the Bodies Battles
Kale is similar to other dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables
in regard to it being very high in antioxidants. The critical action of antioxidants revolves are basically rounding up the free radicals in the body. Realistically antioxidants help counteract the oxidative damage that they cause throughout your organs and the rest of your body.
taking you through a nerd session. Free Radicals are oxygen rich molecules with uneven electrons, allowing them to interact freely and easily with cells in the body causing damage by taking electrons. Molecules want to be even so they take electrons wherever they can find them.
The result is oxidation and can cause chain reactions if there are plentiful amounts of free radicals. Antioxidants do the opposite giving free radicals in the body electrons to make them complete while also remaining stable and preventing them from taking electrons from stable molecules
Oxidative stress contributes to aging, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, inflammatory issues, neurodegenerative disease and cancer. Meaning having an abundance of antioxidants (aka molecules against/anti oxidation) will help battle these terrible side effects.
Two notable antioxidants inside of kale are Quercetin and Kaempferol. They help protect the heart, have anti inflammatory properties, help lower blood pressure, and carry anti-depressant and anti-viral effects.
This is the key to blood clotting. Many of the anti-coagulant drugs (drugs used to prevent the clotting of blood) work essentially by blockading the function of this vitamin so it can not do its job.
This vitamin puts certain proteins in play and gifts them the ability to bind with calcium. This vitamin is essential due to the basic fact that if you are cut and your blood does not clot, that is the end of the ball game. The clotting of blood is what prevents wounds from becoming life threatening or fatal.
Keep in mind, Vitamin K does not make your blood thick. It gives your blood the ability to clot effectively when the time comes.
I Can See Clearly Now
Around 65% of the population just doesn’t have great vision for a wide variety of factors. One of the more common issues is the oxidative stress and damage to cells over time from aging and lack of a proper diet. Thankfully there are nutrients that can help mitigate some of these factors.
Kale is home to two of the most important. Lutein and Xeaxanthin are antioxidants that lower the risk of macular degeneration and can also help reverse some effects based on the studies that have been done. They can also drastically reduce the risk of cataracts.
They help reduce and prevent the oxidative stress that takes place within the body but specifically for the eyes as they are the only carotenoids (fat soluble pigments that absorb damaging blue light from entering the eye).
It is unknown whether they do more than reduce the risk of vision degenerative effects however high levels of both within the eye tissue is linked to far better vision. What I do know is it won’t make your vision worse and in my opinion has a chance at making it better so you can’t go wrong.
High In Beta Carotene
Beta-Carotene is another positive that Kale brings to the table. It too plays a role in good eye health and vision, It is the yellow, red, orange pigments that gives a lot of fruits and vegetables their color and is also responsible for the beautiful autumn leaves we all love.
Beta Carotene is converted to vitamin A which is an essential nutrient for the body. With Vitamin A being key to healthy skin, and healthier mucous membranes, our immune system and our eyes. It is clear why Kale having high levels of Beta-Carotene is a plus.
Although cholesterol has a great deal of important functions for the body. One of the most important is being converted into bile by the liver and being released into the digestive system to assist with breaking down meals with fatty content. After playing its role in digestion it is reabsorbed into the blood stream with is original role as cholesterol.
Kale happens to contain bile sequestrants. These bind bile acids in the digestive system preventing cholesterol that has been converted from being reabsorbed into the blood stream. This is essentially the same task that cholesterol lowering drugs provide except in its natural and non side effect riddled way.
This process can lower cholesterol levels. Essentially it will increase HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) by forcing LDL to remain in the digestive system. Possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and other disease linked to LDL.
Steamed Kale is far more effective at this task than kale in other forms.
Now I know most of you arrived here asking if Kale is Good For you? I hope you have all come to the conclusion the answer is yes.
Kale has been shown to provide a number of properties that are essential for building a better body and even better health
- Nutrient Dense and low in Calories
- Provides nutrients most are deficient in
- High Levels of Vitamin C
- Assistance with Vital Functions (Collagen, Immunity)
- Antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress
- Helps prevent aging, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, hypertension etc
- Vitamin K (Blood clotting ability)
- Lutein and Xeaxanthin
- Reduce risk of macular degeneration, possibly help reverse it
- High In Beta-Carotene/Vitamin A
- Healtheir Skin, Nails, eyes, organs etc
- Lower LDL (Cholesterol)
- Protect the Heart
I hope that this information is useful to you in some form, even if it is just an affirmation of what you are doing right. If you haven’t tried kale, give it a chance, the benefits are almost endless.
Tell me about your experiences with Kale below, or your experiences with dieting in general.
As Always, It was a Pleasure.
Stan- Founder Asparagus Tips